So you are probably saying, “About time, Robert! What took you so long?!?” Well, to be honest, Jared…..The beginning of the book was a little….boring. Too much flash. Too much doom and gloom……not enough meat in the first few chapters. I tried 3 different times to get through those first dry pages over the years. At last I have finally succeeded. Bout time!
Title: The Final Empire
Series: Mistborn Trilogy; Book 1
Author: Brandon Sanderson
ROTS Setting: UU, Unique Magic
Synopsis: The Final Empire controls the known world and rules with a tyrannical iron fist. A group of professional thieves turn revolutionaries have the best chance in the last thousand years to fracture the Empires hold. Their job is near-impossible. How do you bring down a government that has stood for a thousand year? More importantly, how do you kill a god?
Recommendation: Mature content with a similar reading level. Late teens would be my suggestion, definitely no earlier. It took me until really the end to decide that I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the next one. Correction ….. I already have. Booya!
– – Mild Spoilers – –
This a tremendous world building masterpiece by Brandon Sanderson. There will be mild, mostly setting related, spoilers ahead. You have now been fairly warned.
Having finally finished the book I can now see some clear similarities to many of the worlds we built over the years. We never could have pulled off characters or a storyline like this but the world and it’s history have a familiar quality.
Seriously…An empire lasting a thousand years?! It just far enough beyond normal reason that it fits perfectly. And a god-emperor? Instant impossible situation. How about every logical and intelligent means of tyranny that a god-emperor of a thousand year empire could inflict while still maintaining stability? Oh course. And the blending of religion with history? Spot on. I haven’t even mentioned the magic, yet.
Allomancy and Feruchemy are very simple to understand and very well grounded in the world setting. It just feels like a natural extension of a complex organic universe. My only problem was that it took about half the book before I could begin to feel how either was supposed to fit into the setting. Once I grasped the scope of it all I could finally begin to appreciate a tiny portion of the many subtle details.
To help others overcome the same frustrations in a safe environment let me explain what Allomancy and Feruchemy are and do.
Allomancy is the consumption of metals and alloys thereby granting the user superhuman abilities. The power comes from the metal. Specific metals or alloys grant specific abilities. A “Misting” can only use 1 metal and it’s accompanying ability while a “Mistborn” can use them all. These metals are usually swallowed and are “burned” or used up when the corresponding ability is used. There are 4 base metals, 4 base alloys, and 2 precious metals that can be used in Allomancy. A base metal and it’s corresponding base alloy are opposites of each other with one “pulling” and the other “pushing.” For instance a Misting that can burn iron can pull metals toward them and a Misting that can burn steel can push metals away from them.
Feruchemy is the storing of abilities, attributes or memories in metal objects and then withdrawing them latter to enhance and augment your preexisting abilities. This can sound very confusing but it really isn’t. For example a Feruchemist can store up physical strength in a pewter object. To do so he/she must be in skin contact with pewter and while storing their physical strength into it he/she will be physically weakened. The physical strength can be then used at a latter date when the user needs it. This might not sound as good as Allomancy, but the ability or attribute can be used as fast or slow as the user desires. For example a Feruchemist can be twice as strong for 1 minute or 1/60th stronger for an hour or 60 times stronger for a second.
I just love the “magic” in this universe. There are even hints of other ways that magic is used. Really it’s a good balance.
The general feel or atmosphere of the book is almost dystopian with a certain steampunk flare while still building on fairly solid fantasy elements. The mix is refreshing……once you get past the first two thirds of the book.
As for characters, I consider there to be two main characters. Vin is a young girl in a thieving crew who has had an unusually hard life. She’s a balanced character with enough insecurities and weaknesses to keep her abilities from looking too out of place AND still keeping the character organic. Kelsier, however, is the leader of a high-end thieving crew and he’s annoying enough for both of them. He kind of reminds me of the OP characters I used to come up with…..and equally arrogant. The group of secondary characters is nice though and some of the dynamics are both entertaining and natural feeling. I also like how they play to their strengths which isn’t as noticeable in other books where roles tend to blur because of group politics.
Lastly, the plot. It is remarkably well planned and thought out. There are some great plot twists and in the big picture nothing felt too convenient or too hard just for the sake of creating conflict.
Really, I should have just powered through and read this book long ago. Now I’ve read this and the second book in the trilogy in a couple of days. (And I got the 3rd one on hold but it’s already checked out and isn’t due back until the 30th!) The second book is like the last third of this book but for the whole thing. I expect the third and final book in the trilogy to be just as good, if not better. And I suspect the rest of the series has really hit it’s stride……But for now I’ll have to wait.